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Sick Note’s Rupert Grint: After Harry Potter, I want the chance to show that I can do different things

The actor returns to the spotlight in black comedy ‘Sick Note’, in a role that could hardly be more different from his character Ron Weasley in the Harry Potter films

Even now, some 17 years after it happened, Rupert Grint can still sometimes scarcely believe that he landed the magical part of Ron Weasley in the Harry Potter films.

“That role was my dream!” the actor exclaims. “Even before the films started, I was a huge fan of the books, and the character of Ron in particular. I always had an affinity with him, so suddenly to be playing him in the Great Hall of Hogwarts was mind-blowing for an 11-year-old boy.”

But his gratitude does not end there. Grint is modest and realistic enough to acknowledge that playing Ron has been an enormous boost for his subsequent career. “I’ve always felt very lucky to be part of those films. Harry Potter did wonderful things for me. It was a huge part of my life. And I’m grateful that thanks to Harry Potter I’m now able to do fantastic projects like Sick Note.”

Sick Note, a black comedy in which Grint plays the duplicitous character of Daniel, could scarcely be further removed from the Harry Potter films.

At the start of Nat Saunders and James Serafinowicz’s six-part comedy, on Sky 1, Daniel is one of life’s losers. Ditched by his girlfriend Becca (Pippa Bennett-Warner, Harlots) and on the verge of losing his job as a tele-salesman at an insurance company run by the rapacious Kenny (a gloriously over-the-top Don Johnson from Miami Vice), he is an inveterate malingerer and insatiable liar.

He even lies about the death of Becca’s beloved cat, Peanut, in order to avoid the blame for inadvertently killing him in an unfortunate door slamming accident. Daniel is going nowhere – extremely fast.

Until his fortunes change quite dramatically one day. At a routine medical consultation about his (perfectly healthy) elbow, Daniel is solemnly informed by Dr Iain Glennis (played by Nick Frost, Shaun of the Dead) that he is actually suffering from oesophageal cancer.

As he mournfully tells people at work the bad news, Daniel retains his job and receives endless sympathy from his formerly hostile colleagues. Becca even takes him back.

But it soon emerges that the incompetent Iain has misread the X-rays and that Daniel is in fact fine. However, he is enjoying the upturn in his fortunes so much, that Daniel can’t bring himself to tell anyone that he is actually not dying of cancer.

He confides to a close friend that, “It sounds awful, but having cancer all week has been so great. I feel like I’ve won the lottery.” So Daniel and Iain, whose job is also under threat, conspire to keep the doctor’s mistake secret. Once a liar, always a liar…

Of course, the more Daniel keeps digging a hole for himself, the funnier it becomes. Saunders explains that, “The second Daniel tells a lie about still having cancer, it’s the worst mistake of his life, and it only gets worse. You can’t retract a lie of that magnitude, especially when you’re using it for your own ends.”

Sick Note cleverly fuses light and shade. Serafinowicz describes it as, “Dark, but silly as well. It’s Breaking Bad meets Fawlty Towers.”

There is also a rich vein of farce running through Sick Note. Iain, for instance, is a ludicrously inept doctor. Frost laughs that, “Iain is so bad at his job that he can’t even pronounce the word ‘oesophagus’. We did a scene the other day where he tells Daniel, ‘You have cancer of the osnophagis’.

“I mean, how on earth has this guy not been struck off? It’s actually quite scary. There are a few places where he alludes to the fact that he may or may not have killed lots of people: ‘Listen, they were all patients – at least most of them were patients!’ I like that farcical aspect of the show. British TV likes farce. This is a great chance to play a nice, dark idiot.”

We are at Wimbledon Studios watching a scene involving all sorts of beeping medical machinery. In a break from filming, Grint comes over to meet me by the Centre Court Restaurant – well, it is in Wimbledon.

The actor was clearly well cast as Ron. In person, the 29-year-old is as charming and easy-going as his most famous alter ego. Grint, who made a very well-regarded stage debut in a West End revival of Jez Butterworth’s Mojo four years ago, says that as soon as he read the script of Sick Note, he could identify with Daniel. “I had a similar experience when I had swine flu a few years ago. When you’re ill, you get a lot of attention, and people bring you cups of tea. It was actually quite an attractive thing.

“So I get Daniel’s predicament. Obviously, what he does is a lot more serious, but I admit I was tempted to pretend I was ill for longer than I was, and I remember being a bit sad when I actually got better. So I can relate to that.”

Daniel is light years away from Ron; where Ron was faithful and fearless, Daniel is false and fake. But Grint says he did not take the lead in Sick Note just to demonstrate his range. “It’s not a conscious decision to show my versatility,” he muses.

“Of course, you do feel a pressure after something like the Harry Potter. You want the chance to show that you can do different things. And it’s refreshing to work without CGI and on a smaller budget. I love the fast pace of filming TV. But Harry Potter was never something I was desperate to shake off. I just enjoy doing different things.”

Grint certainly makes his alter ego in Sick Note very credible; like all of us, Daniel is deeply flawed. Matt Lipsey, the comedy’s director, outlines why he was convinced from the outset that Grint was the man for the job. “Over the years in Harry Potter, I’d seen Rupert really grow as an actor,” reflects Lipsey, who has also directed Little Britain, Big School, Gangsta Granny and Psychoville.

“I saw him in the re-staging of Mojo. He was playing a speed-fuelled thug opposite Daniel Mays. They were that show’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Rupert was utterly astonishing. So I knew he had what it takes to play this man who gets tangled up in a web of his own making as his trail of lies gets worse and worse. Rupert instantly made the part his own.”

All the same, is there a danger that viewers might find that Sick Note strikes a, er, sick note? Saunders stresses that, “We are not in any way condoning lying about having a serious disease. We were very careful about that. We’re not having fun at the expense of anyone who is ill. Daniel’s lie is very bad, but in this series everybody is lying and being hypocritical.”

For his part, Grint thinks the show is not tasteless as “Daniel genuinely thought he had cancer – that was completely real. Things just spiralled out of control.

“And he’s not just flippantly doing this because he can. He’s always very much aware that it’s a terrible, terrible thing to be doing. Sick Note is not taking the Mickey out of people with cancer. It’s taking the Mickey out of people who lie.”

Before we part, Grint returns once more to the subject of Harry Potter. “I look back on it very fondly. We had so much fun. Occasionally I miss that because it was such a great place to be every day.

“It was certainly better than school!”


Original article found at independent.co.uk November 6th, 2017

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Harry Potter star Rupert Grint on why it’s magic to play lead in new show Sick Note

You know him best as Harry Potter’s closest friend Ron Weasley, now Rupert Grint is back with his first ever TV series, Sick Note.

He plays lazy loser Daniel Glass, whose life is transformed when his doctor tells him he’s terminally ill.

Suddenly Daniel’s parents love him, his girlfriend puts her plans to dump him on hold, and instead of being fired by his boss (played by 1980s Miami Vice star Don Johnson), he’s given his old job back.

The problem is, Daniel isn’t dying — he just has a very incompetent doctor, played by Shaun of the Dead’s Nick Frost.

And now the bungling twosome have to keep the fact that Daniel isn’t actually on his death bed a very big secret.

We met Rupert (29) to talk tall tales, TV roles and life after Hogwarts.

What drew you to Sick Note?

The scripts are really clever and funny, and it’s a very fresh idea. I hadn’t read anything in a long time that had made me laugh out loud like this. Dark things have always appealed to me. I don’t know why — perhaps I have a bit of a sick sense of humour!

Was the offbeat plot a big attraction?

The idea of lives spiralling further and further out of control is a great basis for a show. All the characters are covering something up. That gradually becomes clearer. It makes for an interesting dynamic where everyone is concealing the truth.

What have you enjoyed about Nat Saunders and James Serafinowicz’s scripts?

Sick Note is brilliantly written because it has so many twists and turns. You never know where it will go next. I love the spontaneity of it. Also, the director Matt Lipsey is great. He lets us go off script, and it feels very free. Nat and James are rewriting on the hoof. It is a very collaborative process.

Tell us a bit about Daniel…

He has become completely immune to lying. He’s lied all the way though his life. He’s always faking some sort injury to get off work, and his relationship is hanging by a string of white lies. He’s lost his passion for everything — his job and his relationship. He is really hitting the wall. He’s jaded, and he’s happier watching Game of Thrones and playing PlayStation than going to work. Life is slowly passing him by.

What happens next?

Daniel suddenly gets the worst news possible when he is diagnosed with a terminal illness. But he doesn’t come clean when he realises he’s been misdiagnosed because everything is so much easier for him when people think he is ill. Suddenly he is not completely invisible anymore – people are noticing him. He also manages to save his relationship. All of a sudden, he gets a burst of life that he’s never had before.

Why doesn’t he reveal that, in fact, he’s not ill?

When Daniel finds out that he’s not terminally ill, he has a big decision to make. It’s not easy for him. He is aware that it’s a terrible, terrible thing to do, but he feels he has no choice because everything is going so much better. Now he’s got everything he wants. He thinks his hand has been forced.

Are there any similarities between your own life and Daniel’s?

The main thing I could relate to was that I’ve always been quite philosophical and laid back.

What’s the relationship between Daniel and Dr Iain Glennis?

Sick Note is a classic farce, and Daniel and Iain are almost a Laurel and Hardy kind of double act. The doctor is completely incapable of anything. He makes it so much more difficult to keep the lie secret because he is constantly cocking it up. Daniel is continually frustrated by Iain because the doctor has no concept of the consequences and the gravity of the situation they’re in.

What has it been like to work with Nick Frost?

It’s been brilliant. But it’s also been very challenging trying to keep a straight face. He’s absolutely hilarious. He keeps trying to make me ‘corpse’. He’s always coming out with things during filming. They stay with you all day, and you can’t forget them. He makes it very difficult, but it’s been great working with him.

Are there any big differences between making film and TV?

No. I don’t see huge difference. We’re in a golden age of television. It’s great to have the opportunity to develop a character like Daniel over several hours — that’s hard to carve out in a single film.

Daniel is very different from the role for which you are best known, Ron Weasley in the Harry Potter films. Did you deliberately choose a character so far removed from your most celebrated part?

No. It’s not a conscious decision to show my versatility. You do feel a pressure after something like Harry Potter. You want the chance to show that you can do different things. It’s refreshing to work without CGI and on a smaller budget. I love the fast pace of this filming. But Harry Potter was never something I was desperate to shake off. I just enjoy doing different things.

Finally, how would you sum up your experience of making Sick Note?

It’s been amazing. This is the first TV that I’ve ever done, and I’ve loved every minute of it!


Original article found at buzz.ie November 6th, 2017

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Rupert Grint: ‘I appreciate Harry Potter more now’

From wizards to whoppers! Harry Potter star Rupert Grint heads new Sky One sitcom Sick Note, about a born liar…

Rupert Grint makes the leap from Harry Potter’s “the boy who lived” to Sky One’s “the man who fibbed” in new comedy series, Sick Note.

It’s a big change for the actor who began his career playing Ron Weasley in the successful Harry Potter series at 13 years old. Rupert, now 29, ditches wizardry for telling great big whoppers in this six-part comedy, with Spaced star Nick Frost as incompetent doctor Iain Glennis and Miami Vice’s Don Johnson playing Daniel’s egotistical boss, Kenny West, at We Cover Insurance.
We caught up with Rupert Grint on the set of Sick Note where he revealed what brings his character to lie about having cancer. He also talks about the long-lasting legacy of playing Ron Weasley…

Tell us about Sick Note and your character Daniel Glass…

“Daniel’s life is kept together by many little white lies. He always wears a cast and keeps up the pretence of a mysterious, dodgy arm, as an excuse to get out of work or doing things around the house for his girlfriend Becca (Harlots’ Pippa Bennett-Warner). Daniel’s someone who’s lost all passion for his life. He’s happy watching Game of Thrones and playing his PlayStation!”

What changes when he sees doctor Iain Glennis (Nick Frost) instead of his usual doctor?

“He gets the worst possible news and it completely changes his life. When Dr Glennis diagnoses him with cancer Daniel’s terrified but suddenly everyone treats him better and his relationship comes back to life.”

After Iain reveals it’s a misdiagnosis, why doesn’t Daniel come clean?

“Everyone’s so nice to him it makes the decision to lie a lot easier for Daniel. But he doesn’t go into it lightly. It’s huge decision. He gets backed into a corner and he wants to back out quite a lot! The lie completely spirals out of control and goes in different directions, each worse and worse and more disturbing! There are many strange arcs and twists.”

Did you have any reservations about the show?

“Yes, I was worried because cancer is not funny. It’s not an easy thing to be funny with. However, the script and characters made it kind of an easy decision. What’s really important is, Sick Note isn’t taking the mickey out of cancer. It’s more about the lies Daniel and Iain tell, and how they spiral. Cancer becomes a secondary thing. Sick Note’s dark, and I’ve a dark side to my sense of humour, but it’s also hilarious and clever. Possibly it’s an acquired taste but I hope it comes out funny. It’s quite broad, farcical humour too.”

How was it working with Don Johnson and Nick Frost?

“I loved it! The most challenging thing about the whole shoot was working with Nick because he’s hilarious and I struggle with corpsing. Don is great – he’s a complete earthquake, a force that changed the energy on set. You’d never put us three together in anything!”

You’ve worked with amazing actors in your time, who stands out?

“I’ve been so lucky. Alan Rickman quickly comes to mind. He had an amazing presence when he walked on set. There are so many incredible people I could list – Julie Walters and Ralph Fiennes, and I’ve early memories of Richard Harris. Back then I didn’t appreciate it as much as I do now. When I first started they were just nice people, now I’m older and have watched more films, I realise it was amazing.”

Has Harry Potter made walking down the street difficult?

“Selfies have become an everyday thing now, it’s happened since I was a young boy so you weirdly get used to it and forget it’s actually quite a strange thing. For me it’s like being asked for directions, it just happens. I never feel famous, so I’m always uncomfortable if someone gets star struck. But I’ve no regrets. It’s an unusual existence but not ridiculously crazy. Sometimes I can get over it by wearing a hat!”


Original article found at whatsontv.co.uk October 31st, 2017

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Rupert Grint and Nick Frost to star in Sick Note sitcom

Rupert Grint and Nick Frost will star in new sitcom Sick Note
It’s about a man who is mis-diagnosed with cancer, but continues to say he’s got it as people are nicer to him
The six-part series is being filmed now, to be shown on Sky Atlantic in early 2017

Rupert Grint and Nick Frost are to star in Sick Note, a new sitcom for Sky Atlantic.

The six-part series will focus on how “desperate a person’s actions can become when a lie starts to spiral out of control”.

Sick Note is the story of Daniel Glass, a compulsive liar. Just when things couldn’t get any worse for him, he’s diagnosed with esophageal cancer. But owing to the diagnosis, Daniel finds those around him begin treating him better.

However, Daniel then finds out he was misdiagnosed, leaving him with a big decision. He can come clean and go back to his old rubbish life, or keep this new information a secret and pretend to be ill.

Daniel decides to go for the latter option and lie, but very quickly the mis-truths spiral out of control and both Daniel and Dr Glennis who diagnosed him have to spend all of their waking lives trying to prevent the truth from getting out.

Rupert Grint, best known for playing Ron in the Harry Potter films, takes on the lead role of Daniel, with Nick Frost playing Dr Ian Glennis, “the most incompetent oncologist on Earth”.

Sick Note will also feature American TV star Don Johnson (Miami Vice) as Kenny West, Daniel’s irrepressible boss.
Filming is now under way on the series, which has been written by Nat Saunders and James Serafinowicz. BAFTA winning director Matt Lipsey is overseeing the shoot. Footage of Grint filming a scene in South London was recently posted on YouTube

Sick Note is being produced by King Bert, the production company founded by David Walliams, Miranda Hart and producer Jo Sargent.

Jo Sargent says: “We are thrilled that we are making Sick Note for Sky Atlantic. Nat and James have done a brilliant job creating an enticing and funny hook and I look forward to our stellar cast bringing their hilarious scripts to life”.

Sky Atlantic’s Zai Bennett comments: “We’re delighted to welcome the stellar cast of Rupert Grint, Nick Frost and Don Johnson to Sky Atlantic in this smart new original comedy. They join a high end stable of US hits like Veep and Silicon Valley alongside great original comedy from the likes of Julia Davis and Steve Coogan.”

Sick Note will be shown on Sky Atlantic in early 2017, with the entire series being made available as an on-demand Sky Box Set.


Original article found at comedy.co.uk May 31st, 2016

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